端午の節句/(山下嘉四郎)
Tango no sekku (Boys festival, May 5th)/Kasirou Yamasita


Once upon a time there was a man called 'Japan's Nio' (Nio means big, strong and powerful). Nio was the strongest man in Japan and he had been strong but also kind all of his life.
In China too there was a very strong man.He was called 'Gao'. He too was the strongest in his country and he was very proud of this.

One day Nio decided to go to China to compete against Gao to see who was the strongest.On his way he was taking a rest in a field when he met an old woman.He told her who he was and that he was going to China to compete against Gao. The woman said that his journey could be dangerous and so she gave him a metal file to protect himself with.

Nio took the file with thanks, tucked it in the top folds of his kimono and headed off on his way to China. When Nio finally reached Gao's house he saw Gao's old mother pounding straw to soften it with a large stone hammer,
".... nottsura nottsura to!"
She looked incredibly strong, especially for an old woman. Nio suddenly thought that if the old mother was so strong, Gao must be incredibly powerful and he ran away in a panic.

Soon Gao returned home and his mother told him that Nio had come but then left for Japan again without having tried his strength against Gao's.Gao got angry and went after Nio. Nio's ship had already left the beach and was heading back to Japan.
But Gao threw an anchor with all of his strength towards Nio's ship. The anchor caught in the side of the ship ".....gicchara to!" and Gao pulled the ship back to the shore. As Nio's ship was rapidly coming closer to the shore, Nio suddenly remembered he had the file that the old lady had given him. He quickly cut through the anchor chain and the ship set off again for Japan.

But Gao wouldn't give up.As soon as he could, he got on a ship and went after Nio.When they were both in Japan Gao almost caught Nio.Nio hid himself in a bush of Japanese iris (shobu) and wormwood (yomogi - which is very bitter).Gao shouted out that he couldn't go in after Nio because both shobu and yomogi irritated his skin terribly.

Nio was very glad to hear this and he picked as much shobu and yomogi as he could and threw it at Gao.
Nio then ran back to his house and spread shobu and yomogi all around his house. When Gao came to Nio's house he saw all the shobu and yomogi.
He realised there was no way of catching Nio so he returned to China in defeat.

That night was May the fourth. Nio thanked shobu and yomogi and decorated two trees, one on each side of the garden gate with them.He also put carp that he had caught in a nearby pond on each tree (the carp symbolises strength and success).

The next day was May the fifth and this became the boys festival day; 'tango no sekku', when all over Japan houses fly carp kites, one for each boy in the family.

Tottsuparekkopi. (The end ! )


小砂もどる